Impact of RERA on Redevelopment and Self Redevelopment

An interesting article by Ramesh Prabhu in the November 2019 issue of MSWA’s Housing Society Review

Click Here for Impact of RERA on Redevelopment

Another interesting article by S Parthasarathy in the above issue on the same topic

Click Here for RERA updates

Oxfam Inequality Report – 2019

Oxfam Inequality Report 2019: Nine Richest Indians Own Wealth Equivalent to Bottom 50% of the Country While the top 1% own 51.53% of national wealth, the bottom 60% own merely 4.8%

Amitabh Behar, CEO, Oxfam India said:

” It is morally outrageous that a few wealthy individuals are amassing a growing share of India’s wealth while the poor are struggling to eat their next meal or pay for their child’s medicines. If this obscene inequality between the top 1 percent and the rest of India continues then it will lead to a complete collapse of the social and democratic structure of this country.

The report reveals India added 18 new billionaires last year raising the total number of billionaires to 119. Their wealth crossed the US$400 billion (INR 28000 billion) mark for the first time. It rose from US$325.5 billion (INR 22725 billion) in 2017 to US$440.1 billion (INR 30807 billion) in 2018. This is the single largest annual increase since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

  • Getting the richest one percent in India to pay just 0.5 percent extra tax on their wealth could raise enough money to increase government spending on heath by 50 percent.
  • Last year, wealth of top 1 percent in India increased by 39 percent whereas wealth of bottom 50 percent increased at a dismal 3 percent.
  • Globally, tax rates for wealthy individuals and corporations have also been cut dramatically. For example, the top rate of personal income tax in rich countries fell from 62 percent in 1970 to just 38 percent in 2013. The average rate in poor countries is just 28 percent.
  • India’s combined revenue and capital expenditure of the Centre and State for Medical & Public Health, Sanitation & Water Supply is Rs 2,08,166 crore (INR 2082 billion), less than the wealth of India’s richest billionaire Mukesh Ambani at Rs 2,80,700 crore (INR 2807 billion).

Here is the executive summary of the report – Click Here

Here is the link to the full report – Click Here

The Government Is Covering Up Vaccine Deaths – Robert F. Kennedy Jr

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is continuing his personal crusade against Big Pharma and Big Government collusion, authoring a hard-hitting article explaining that the government are withholding information from the public about vaccines – and covering up vaccine deaths – in order to protect pharmaceutical companies.

Vaccine scientists and the public health community cautiously and occasionally will admit that vaccines can cause adverse reactions just like “any other medication or biological product.” Although experts are less willing to openly disclose the fact that adverse reactions can and do include death, one has only to look at reports to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to see that mortality is a possible outcome.

From 1990 through 2010, for example, VAERS received 1,881 reports of infant deaths following vaccination, representing 4.8% of the adverse events reported for infants over the 20-year period.

Moreover, analysts acknowledge that VAERS, as a passive surveillance system, is subject to substantial underreporting. A federal government report from 2010 affirms that VAERS captures only about 1% of vaccine adverse reports.

On the international frontier, the public health community—with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the vanguard—previously used a six-category framework to investigate and categorize serious adverse events following immunization (AEFI), including death.

Guided by this tool, public health teams examined temporal criteria and possible alternative explanations to determine whether the relationship of an AEFI to vaccine administration was “very likely/certain,” “probable,” “possible,” “unlikely,” “unrelated,” or “unclassifiable.”

[Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Drops Vaccine Truth Bomb Live On TV]

In 2013, the WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety discarded the prior tool, ostensibly because users “sometimes [found it] difficult to differentiate between ‘probable,’ ‘possible,’ and ‘unlikely’ categories.” The WHO enlisted vaccine experts to develop a “simpler” algorithm that would be more readily “applicable” to vaccines. The resulting four-category system now invites public health teams to classify an AEFI as either “consistent,” “inconsistent,” or “indeterminate” with a vaccine-related causal association or as “unclassifiable.”

Despite the patina of logic suggested by the use of an algorithm, “the final outcome of the case investigation depends on the personal judgment of the assessor” [emphasis added], especially (according to the tool’s proponents) when the process “yields answers that are both consistent and inconsistent with a causal association to immunization.”

In a 2017 letter in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, Drs. Jacob Puliyel (an India-based pediatrician and member of India’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization) and Anant Phadke (an executive member of the All India Drug Action Network) raise important questions about the revised tool.

They describe an Orwellian Catch-22 situation wherein it is nearly impossible to categorize post-vaccine deaths as vaccine-related. This is because the revised algorithm does not allow users to classify an AEFI as “consistent with causal association with vaccine” unless there is evidence showing that the vaccine caused a statistically significant increase in deaths during Phase III clinical trials.

By definition, however, any vaccine not found to “retain safety” in Phase III trials cannot proceed to Phase IV (licensure and post-marketing surveillance). The result of the algorithm’s convoluted requirements is that any deaths that occur post-licensure become “coincidental” or “unclassifiable.”

Drs. Puliyel and Phadke describe what happened in India when the country’s National AEFI committee assessed 132 serious AEFI cases reported between 2012 and 2016, including 54 infant deaths that followed administration of a pentavalent all-in-one vaccine intended to protect recipients against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type b infections. For babies who survived hospitalization, the committee classified three-fifths (47/78) of the AEFI as causally related to vaccines (with 47% of the incidents viewed as “product-related” and 13% as “error-related”), but they rated nearly all (52/54) of the deaths as either coincidental (54%) or unclassifiable (43%) despite mounting evidence that pentavalent and hexavalent vaccines are increasing the risk of sudden unexpected death in infants.

…doctors who “naïvely” accept biased reports on vaccine safety “are losing the trust of the public and in the process…endangering public health.”
The absurdity and negligence inherent in the ultimately subjective WHO checklist have not escaped the attention of others in India and beyond. In a series of comments published in the journal Vaccine in response to the 2013 publication of the revised tool, commenters issued the following scathing remarks:

  • “Even if a healthy child dies within minutes following vaccination and there is no alternate explanation for the AEFI, even then the powers that be could easily declare that death as coincidental and not due to the vaccine, thanks to the new AEFI. This is dangerous ‘science’.”
  • “Amongst the 20 items of their checklist, no less than 15 (75%) are devoted to refute a vaccine-induced causality [emphasis in original]…. After all and as the authors confess with an astonishing ingenuousness, the main point is to ‘maintain public confidence in immunization programs.’”
  • “People understand that there are no true coincidences—only events that have been made to appear to be coincidental by either a genuine lack of understand[ing] of the overall facts leading to the ‘coincidence’ reported or by the deliberate suppression of the facts, including when…AEFIs that result in death are made to ‘disappear.’”
  • “It seems that huge business in [the] vaccine industry is affecting [the] science of vaccines and we are developing various ways to promote the business at the cost of human lives. …Going for a less sensitive tool for safety concerns is not only illogical but risky for the children of the world.”

Unfortunately, many vaccine proponents appear to be more concerned with forestalling “misconceptions” and “erroneous conclusions about cause and effect” than they are about preventing and identifying adverse events following vaccination. The result, as Dr. Puliyel argues, is that doctors who “naïvely” accept biased reports on vaccine safety “are losing the trust of the public and in the process…endangering public health.”

Consumer Protection Act 2019: Enhancing Consumer Rights

The 2019 Consumer Protection Act brings about fundamental changes to the existing 1986 legislation. But it also envisages a Central Consumer Protection Authority and vests too much power and control in this authority without proposing adequate administrative safeguards.

Mid-August, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (2019 Act) received Presidential assent and came into effect. Notably, the 2019 Act, repeals the previous consumer protection legislation which had been in effect since 1986 (1986 Act). This prior legislation had been amended from time-to-time to bring it in accordance with changes brought about by economic liberalisation, globalisation of markets and digitalisation of products and services. However, its practical implementation was far from fulfilling its desired objective of being a socio-economic legislation which sought “to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers.” While using the same phrase in its preamble, the 2019 Act, has substantially enhanced the scope of protection afforded to consumers, by bringing within its purview advertising claims, endorsements and product liability, all of which play a fundamental role in altering consumer behavior and retail trends in the 21st century.

New Additions

The definition of “consumer” under the 2019 Act includes those who make purchases online. Endorsement of goods and services, normally done by celebrities, are also covered within the ambit of the 2019 Act. In fact, an additional onus has been placed on endorsers, apart from manufacturers and service providers, to prevent false or misleading advertisements. In contrast to the 1986 Act, the definition of “goods” has been amended to include “food” as defined in the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. This would also bring the meteorically rising number of food delivery platforms within the fold of the 2019 Act.

Interestingly, “telecom” has been added to the definition of “services” to bring telecom service providers within the purview of the 2019 Act. But surprisingly, such inclusion has not been worded as “telecommunication service” defined under the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, which would have included internet, cellular and data services.

A significant addition to the 2019 Act is the introduction of “product liability” whereby manufacturers and sellers of products or services have been made responsible to compensate for any harm caused to a consumer by defective products, manufactured or sold, or for deficiency in services. Another newly introduced concept is that of “unfair contracts” aimed to protect consumers from unilaterally skewed and unreasonable contracts which lean in favour of manufacturers or service providers.

The definition of “unfair trade practices” has been enlarged to include electronic advertising which is misleading, as well as refusing to take back or withdraw defective goods, or to withdraw or discontinue deficient services, and to refund the consideration within the period stipulated or in the absence of such stipulation, within a period of thirty days. It is now also an offence if any personal information, given in confidence and gathered in the course of a transaction, gets disclosed.

All these changes signify an attempt to create more transparency in the marketplace, through legislative protection, with a view to ensure that consumer interests are above all else.

Click Here for the full story

Environment reporters facing harassment and murder, study finds

Tally of deaths makes it one of most dangerous fields for journalists after war reporting

Thirteen journalists who were investigating damage to the environment have been killed in recent years and many more are suffering violence, harassment, intimidation and lawsuits, according to a study.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which produced the tally, is investigating a further 16 deaths over the last decade. It says the number of murders may be as high as 29, making this field of journalism one of the most dangerous after war reporting.

On every continent reporters have been attacked for investigating concerns about abuses related to the impact of corporate and political interests scrambling to extract wealth from the earth’s remaining natural resources.

These resources end up in all manner of products – from mobile phones to pots and pans – with consumers largely unaware of the stories behind them.

The study was produced for Green Blood, a reporting project whose aim is to continue the reporting of local environmental journalists who have been forced to abandon their work.

Pinterest
 Goldmining in Tanzania. Photograph: Handout Acacia Mining plc

Led by Forbidden Stories, a group of 15 media partners, including the Guardian, El País and Le Monde, have come together to shine an international light on the way these activities affect local environments and communities.

“Environmental issues involve some of the greatest abuses of power in the world and some of the greatest of concentrations of power in the world,” said Bruce Shapiro, the director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

“I’m hard put to think of a category of investigative reporters who are routinely dealing with more dangerous actors. Investigative reporting on the environment can be as dangerous a beat as reporting on narco smuggling.”

Click Here to read the full story